a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Jun, 2007

Best toys for parents kids

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!

On Father’s Day we found ourselves at Toys R Us. To be perfectly honest, it’s not my favourite place to be, no matter what day it is. There is so much crap at that store it gives me a headache. I get a much better feeling at Mrs. Tiggywinkle’s or PlayValue on Carling, where there is significantly less Dora/SpiderMan/SpongeBob and many of the toys have a sense of humor about them.

But there we were, at Toys R Us. Our goal was to buy two water squirters for the two fathers. We found what we were looking for quickly enough, but something else caught my eye. I managed to sneak a couple of these beauties to the register without either child seeing what I was buying.

Here is Sarah, posing with one of them:


Sarah and the paddle ball

 And then she just got goofy:


If you’re my age you might remember having a red or blue Bolo bat. (I tried Googling that term, but surprisingly I’ve come up dry.)  It’s another name for a paddle ball.

I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but where I grew up in Bramalea/Brampton there was a Bolo Bat CRAZE and for they were everywhere for awhile. I’m not sure why it was called a Bolo Bat, perhaps that was the trademark name, but we were paddle balling for days on end. And no one lost an eye!

The ones I bought were the New Millennium Version. The paddle is semi-transparent and the ball is a semi-soft squishy gel ball, so there is a much better chance of your eyeballs surviving intact.

I don’t have to explain what you do with this thing, right?

I thought the girls would get a kick out of it. And they did, for awhile. They found it difficult to “paddle” and get it going. They gave up a little too quickly. It took me a few times before my Superior Hand-Eye Coordination (developed alongside my maternal instinct … I can catch a falling toddler and their soother while holding a hot coffee) kicked in.

After a few days of practice I got pretty good. I can paddle it 200+ times without stopping now. (My paddle ball days are on hold at the moment because Sarah’s string is wearing thin.)

Mark thinks I bought these for myself. Can you believe it??

I’ve taken the paddle ball to the park with us a couple of times. The last time was when Mark was kicking the soccer ball around with the girls. I didn’t feel like playing, and I didn’t feel like just sitting and watching either. So I practiced my paddling. 

Seriously folks, when I do this, the kids come running.

“WHAT IS THAT?” they ask breathlessly.

It’s like not knowing what a Slinky is, or a YoYo for chrissakes!

And then I demonstrate. They watch me, boggle-eyed, absorbing EVERTHING. I am secretly hoping that I’ve started a new generation paddle-ball craze. It’s a great toy.

I’d like to compile a list of Best Toys, just for us. Which ones that are truly the top of the crop? What do you think? What’s an essential toy in your house?

The next toy I’m bringing out: jacks. I bought them at Tiggywinkles for only $1.99… 16 metal jacks and two rubber balls! Heh. Mummy’s going to be busy this weekend.

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10 Responses to "Best toys for parents kids"

1 | porter

June 22nd, 2007 at 9:54 pm


I love this idea…can’t wait to see what people come up with.
I remember Mrs Tiggywinkles from when I lived in Ottawa, it is a great toy store.
Hmmm I need to think about this one…my four year old does love her yoyo (but makes everyone else ‘do it’ for her), and the hoola hoop is a big one around here (my girls are only 4 and 2). I will be back to comment once I think of something for the list.

2 | Kim

June 23rd, 2007 at 1:59 am


Oh I loved paddle ball! We have one around here somewhere. We are in Florida and the Walmart stores here have the older types with the hard ball but plastic (not wood) paddle.

My favorite old toy is something that I’m not sure what to call: It has a handle and two wires coming out of it that extend out then curve underneth it. Then you place the “roller” on it and with quick wrist movements up and down the roller goes from end to end without falling off. Does that make sense? I will post a picture of a newer version I bought for Brooke tomorrow.

Whatever it is called I loved that thing when I was a kid (still do) I play with Brooke’s all the time. It mezmorizes me. :)

3 | Kim

June 23rd, 2007 at 2:00 am


By the way, those pics are adorable and those locks are to die for!

4 | Miss Vicky

June 23rd, 2007 at 9:35 pm



Dominos (the wooden kind, best for stacking for a game my grandparents used to play, not unlike Jenga)

Wooden blocks

I loved my pogo stick when I was a kid

5 | andrea

June 24th, 2007 at 9:23 pm


Good picks so far!

Kim, one of the trademark names of the wire loop thing you mentioned (and I had one too!) is Whee-Lo. More info here: http://www.retroland.com/pages/retropedia/toys/item/4178/

6 | twinmomplusone

June 25th, 2007 at 4:36 am


oh how I loved my bolo bat! and my clackers! and my elastics (also known as Chinese Rope…Klutz has a great little book with a whole bunch of sequences in them, we’ve spent hours doing those around here already)

7 | liss76

June 25th, 2007 at 5:53 am


I loved paddle ball when I was a kid. :) I also loved the traditional ball in cup game, Frisbee, those lethal lawn darts and horseshoes, skipping rope and hula-hoop. :)

For best toys, I’d have to say the old school FP Little People (NOT the ones on the market now), LEGO, wooden blocks, “straws and connectors”, and dinky cars rank high in both my memories of childhood and in my home now with my two little guys. But, honestly, as a kid I was happiest with craft supplies and an empty shoebox and my oldest is pretty much the same. :)

8 | Vicky

June 25th, 2007 at 8:29 am


Have you seen that new reality tv show called American Invntor? There was a man who invented a version of the paddle ball where you have two paddles and you attach a long string to your shirt and you can swing away at the ball with both hands without it getting away from you.

9 | Kim

June 26th, 2007 at 12:22 am


Yep Andrea that’s it! Thank you for finding one sorry I never got the picture of the one we have. I’m a slacker.

:) Kim

10 | paul

November 14th, 2007 at 9:10 am


I soo remember the red and blue bolo bats the bolo reps used to come to different spots around town and have different trick and skill compititions where you won badges for different tricks, and hats and also a gold bolo bat …LOL the old days

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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